Skift Take

India is doing everything it can to increase its share in the global tourism market and make itself a year-round tourist destination.

The Skift India Newsletter is your go-to platform for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.

Learn More

India plans to open up to 50 new tourism destinations, promote green tourism, launch a publicity campaign in overseas markets and operationalize 59 new air routes during its presidency of the G20 this year, said Arvind Singh, secretary at the ministry of tourism. “India’s tourism sector is showing one of the strongest recoveries in the Asia Pacific region. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the country registered 6.19 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 — a growth of 305 percent as compared to 1.52 million in 2021,” he said while speaking at the G20 Tourism Expo held in the north Indian state of Rajasthan. “We have recommended 59 new routes to the ministry of civil aviation under the regional air connectivity scheme which has been successful. Of this, 51 routes are already operational,” Singh added. The government is pushing green initiatives to promote responsible tourism in the country and authorities plan to ensure small businesses have the resources for green investments and to create local jobs. 

Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has signed two greenfield properties in Ayodhya in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh with Bhardwaj Global Infraventures to develop a 100-room Vivanta and 120-room Ginger. “Ayodhya is an important pilgrimage site and receives a very high footfall throughout the year. These hotels will also complete the travel circuit with Lucknow and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh,” said Suma Venkatesh, executive vice president of real estate and development at IHCL. The hotels are strategically located at a driving distance from the upcoming Ayodhya International Airport. With the addition of these hotels, IHCL will have 19 hotels across Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta, and Ginger brands across Uttar Pradesh, including nine under development.

Indian budget carrier IndiGo has announced codeshare connections to Sofia and Varna in Bulgaria, via Istanbul. The 20 weekly flights offer multiple options and easy access to the Balkan country, especially during the holiday season, the airline said in a statement. “These connections will not only enhance business connectivity but also provide customers with affordable options to plan travel during the forthcoming summer vacations. With the addition of this route through Turkish codeshare, IndiGo now connects to 32 destinations in Europe,” said Vinay Malhotra, head of global sales at IndiGo. The airline has previously launched connecting flights to 15 European countries through its codeshare partnership with Turkish Airlines. 

India might need to have the capacity to handle more than 1.3 billion passengers, requiring a commercial fleet of nearly 4,000 aircraft within two decades, according to aviation consultancy and research firm CAPA India. Outlining a roadmap for a new civil aviation policy, CAPA India said the policy should deliver airline viability and growth by design. Citing the need for a mega-airport along the lines of Istanbul airport or Dubai World Central with capacity for up to 200 million passengers, CAPA recommended the aviation policy should plan for airport capacity where major cities like Delhi and Mumbai would need to start planning for third airports. It also called for restructuring of airspace design to provide capacity for up to 8–10 times of current traffic taking into account continued growth in overflights, general aviation and new-age aviation, like air taxis and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

India’s civil aviation ministry has launched the fifth round of its regional air connectivity schemeUde Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) — to further enhance connectivity to remote areas. Only aircraft operations of Category 2 (20-80 seats) and Category 3 (more than 80 seats) will fall in this round with no restriction on the distance between the origin and destination, with stage length cap of 373 miles waived, the ministry said in a release. Under UDAN 5.0, airlines need to submit an action plan after two months from the issuance of Letter of Acceptance, mentioning details about their aircraft acquisition plan, crew and slots at the time of the technical proposal.

Delhi airport is set to have its new terminal and the fourth runway operational in September this year to increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity, aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal said in a statement. “The Indian aviation sector is growing rapidly and we are preparing for better infrastructure and better connectivity with a renewed focus on innovation,” he said at the EU-India Aviation Summit held in India’s capital New Delhi. The fourth runway will be 4,400 meters long and 75 meters wide, slightly smaller than the third runway, according to airport officials familiar with the project. The new runway is part of the Delhi airport’s Phase III-A expansion plan, the original deadline of which was set for the middle to end of 2022.

India and Guyana have signed an air services agreement to facilitate direct flights between the two countries. Guyanese airlines will now have direct market access to international airports in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Currently, there is no direct flight between India and Guyana, however, this agreement puts in place the legal framework that opens market access for airlines of both countries to operate and enhance competitive air transport services, trade, and economic growth. The agreement complements the more than 50 air services agreements Guyana has established with other International Civil Aviation Organization countries for the development of air link among states.

Around 25 airports in India are using 100 percent green energy while another 121 airports will be made carbon neutral by 2025, said Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. Carbon neutral airports operate completely on green practices on a larger scale, have purchased carbon credits, and have wastewater recycling, solar energy, LED lighting and more that can offset carbon emissions. Scindia said that the government has mandated the use of renewable energy as part of the bid documents for upcoming airports. “We are also working towards encouraging the use of sustainable aviation fuel. Indian airline operators have already conducted demonstration flights using biofuel blended with aviation turbine fuel,” he said.

The south Indian city of Chennai is set to be the hub for cruise tourism, said the country’s ports, shipping and waterways minister Sarbananda Sonowal. For the first time in the history of Chennai Port, a continuous cruise service was operated from June to September 2022, he said. Also, around 87,000 passengers from 37 cruise tourism operators visited the port in the past few years, Sonowa added. On launching passenger ferry services between Chennai Port and Puducherry, Sonowal said, “This will be a tourist ferry as traveling from Chennai to Puducherry is much faster by road. But a tourist ferry between the two cities will be more of a pleasure.” 


Skift India Report

India is booming. Discover the subcontinent’s most important travel news here every Tuesday-Thursday.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: air india, airports, capa, carbon neutral, carbon offsets, codeshares, cruise, delhi airport, Guyana, india, Indian Hotels Company, indigo, single use plastics, skift india report, sustainability, sustainable aviation fuel

Photo credit: India’s tourism sector is showing one of the strongest recoveries in the Asia Pacific region. Source: Pexels/Shalender Kumar Shalender Kumar / Pexels

Up Next

Loading next stories